Pride and Prejudice

1. Analysis of the book

The novel, Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen, which was originally published in 1813, is a satirical comedy about life in the gentry rural society in England in the late 18th century. The book focuses on class, gender and marriage, which were all contemporary issues during Austen’s time. Ultimately, those three issues that span the entire book are seemingly resolved all at once with two separate “I do’s,” when Bingley and Jane tie the knot, followed by Darcy and Elizabeth becoming engaged. These marriages are significant because Austen is showing how the power of love and happiness can transcend class boundaries and prejudices—the class boundaries between families and the prejudices (and pride) of the main characters, especially Darcy and Elizabeth, that mislead their opinions of the other.

2. Analysis of the film

In the same manner as Guy Ritchie’s commitment to making “cool” films, Gurinder Chadha has been known to produce feel good flicks and Bride and Prejudice is certainly one of them. Bride and Prejudice, conceived from Chadha’s interpretations of Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, draws from Chadha’s multicultural background. The film is interesting in that it contains some Bollywood elements, some Hollywood elements and the main conflict is centered around when traditional India meets Britain meets America. It’s important to note, however, that the film offers a narrow view of multiculturalism, in that there’s an absence of discrimination and racial conflict. The overall poor acting and observable hastiness in shooting scenes (both the quality of shots and length of scenes) hurt the film’s legitimacy.

3. Analysis of the adaptation

Chadha’s Bride and Prejudice is an interesting adaptation because it contains some elements that are very similar to Pride and Prejudice and some elements that are very different. For example, the characters are set up the same way, but instead of everyone being British, some are Indian, some are British and yet some are American. This is the underlying difference between the novel and the film—as discussed in lecture—that the book deals with issues of gender and class, while the film deals with issues of culture and economics. Therefore, the audience can assume that the multiculturalism in the film was influenced by Chadha’s upbringing—a factor that distances Chadha’s interpretation of Pride and Prejudice from the real thing, along with her spurning of Austen’s language and sardonic narrative voice.

4. Online research on the film

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ARWfCBr0ZDM

This is a trailer of the 2005 film, Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightley. Although the trailer is shorter than three minutes, it allows one to compare the movie to the book and to Bride and Prejudice.

http://146.230.128.141/jspui/bitstream/10413/505/1/Avershree%20Maistry%20-%20Masters%20Dissertation.pdf

This paper, titled, “Representations of Indian Female Identity in Gurinder Chadha’s Bend It Like Beckham and Bride and Prejudice,” explores the formation of multicultural identities in the postcolonial world in relation to Indian women depicted in mainstream media, which furthers one’s understanding of the role of women in the movie.

http://ojs-prod.library.usyd.edu.au/index.php/SSE/article/view/584/552

This paper is a fantastic source because it tracks the surge in popularity of Pride and Prejudice, focusing on the 2005 film and then the multiple television versions of the book. It also examines which adaptation contains the greatest significance for our contemporary understanding of Austen, which, according to the paper, is one that forces the viewer to examine and re-examine the novel. The paper is very detailed and provides specific examples and quotes, which is a more than adequate substitute for watching the versions of Pride and Prejudice being discussed.

5. Critical analysis paragraph

Is Bride and Prejudice too entertaining? How does the “feel good” nature of the film distract audiences from more critical issues presented by the film? Or are those critical issues missing? If so, why is this important?

Fist, it’s important to distinguish the purpose of the film, along with Chadha’s style. Bride and Prejudice was meant to be a “feel good” movie to entertain, become a cross-cultural hit and turn Aishwarya Rai into a Hollywood icon. This is evident early and often in the film, as there’s a noticeable emphasis on plot development and fun scenes like the musical bits instead of good acting, many shots aren’t well thought out, resulting in hasty execution, and the film is so fast-paced that it tends to skip key details in its race to the end. For example, one second Wickam and Lucky are hanging out in India and the next second they have run away to another country. The feel good nature of the film doesn’t distract audiences from more critical issues like culture and economics, but the film’s portrayals hardly are the case in real life. For example, it’s very unlikely that a large family in a rural Indian town would fly all over the world at whim. The feel good nature of the film is also what makes the film so special in its own right, as a unique interpretation of Pride and Prejudice.

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4 responses to “Pride and Prejudice

  1. Hello Eliot,

    I feel that the issues in the book and film are interconnected. The film dose focus more on nationality and economics. However, I think that those two factors define class as America, economically superior to India, is shown as higher on the class hierarchy. As far as gender roles go, I feel that they are still very relevent in the film since Mrs. Bakshi is there supporting the notion that all women need to marry wealthy men.

  2. I agree with you that the film was meant to be a feel good film, and not necessarily focus on critical issues, although Chadha does bring some issues up. I would argue that the feel good and musical aspects of the film do mask those issues to a degree. For example, Chadha is constantly bringing up the issue of globalization and people’s-especially American’s-ignorance about Indian culture; however, these more serious issues get partially lost in the fast pace, musical, “feel good” atmosphere of the film.

  3. I agree that with an adaptation, the purpose of the film changes, and in this case the film is meant to make the audience feel good. Like “Tristram Shandy,” the director took some liberties with the film, adjusting certain themes and leaving out others entirely. In order to capture the gist of a 350 page novel, a film must move at a faster pace, which is often too much in this film like the scene you described.

  4. Good analysis. But you could be more critical in your critical analysis argument paragraph. For instance, you could start with a thesis statement and develop it, rather than make what seem like general comments. And you could take a stand: is it a problem that a film adaptation of a famed literary work that is “feel good” and aimed at a general audience? What is your position? 9/10. JB.

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